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Personal Statement Review


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Would any of you who are experienced in the college application process and have had a good outcome with your children be willing to take a look at my dd’s personal statement?

She did a couple of sessions with an essay coach, and it seems good to me, but wanted see if I could get a pair of experienced eyes on it to see how it comes across from an outsiders point of view.

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Honestly, no opinion matters except the admission officer’s. There truly is no telling exactly what they are looking for. Your kid can read about the so called perfect essay until their eyeballs fall out and write until their fingers fall off, but it matters only so much in the end. 

My DS spent all of last summer researching essays and working on (and “working on”) his. Literally the night before early applications were due, he changed course and wrote something entirely different, and submitted it with hardly a second glance. It was unpolished and barely edited, but it sounded more like him. It wasn’t about a life changing experience, it wasn’t full of frills and impressive words (far, far from it) and it wasn’t nearly representative of his best writing. But, apparently it was good/interesting/unique/telling enough to get him into all his top tier universities that he applied to. 

I honestly believe kids spend too much time forcing their experiences to match with schools’ expectations, when it ought to be the other way around. They ought to spend their time and energy researching good-fit schools; the rest then falls into place. I don’t mean to diminish the importance of all the pieces, but in DS’s experience, anyway, he made sure he was a good candidate for the schools he applied to, in other words, THEY fit HIM, and the entirety of his applications reflected that. 

I hope that makes sense. 

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Yes, it does make sense, and I totally agree with you.  Dd isn’t applying to any top tier schools, but is working to land big scholarships at schools that I do believe will be a good places for her to grow and thrive.  I just want her to be able to accurately show them who she is.  I’m glad to hear about your son’s positive experience!

Two moms from the board read dd’s essay for me, and they both had the same feedback, which was very helpful. I’m so thankful!

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It sounds like she's on the right track. 

The essay should sound like the student wrote it and should focus on revealing insights about the student that are not readily apparent from the data in the application (like grades, scores, and lists of activities).

It can be very helpful to read an essay out loud. Many errors and awkward phrases will pop out when read.

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